Favorites swamped our features this past weekend but we took advantage of one of them in two big exotics on The Hambletonian Trail. A few other decent strikes kept us afloat as the season begins to heat up with Grand Circuit and local series.

Let’s check the features returns in chronological order:


Saturday, May 19

Pocono Downs presented glamour-boy pacers in three sires stakes splits. Second- and third-choice favorites took the trio. We were third in the first split with Whos Better ($4.20). In the second and third episodes we finished seventh and fifth, respectively, with Closing Statement (33-1) and Hayden Hanover (10-1).

Two Great Northeast Open Series miles were also on that Pocono program and also were won by second- and third-choice favorites. We were fourth with Bettor Memories (6-1) and seventh with Mel Mara (15-1).

At the Meadowlands there were two Graduate Series events for trotters. As expected, there was a successful return of Adriana G ($2.80, $2.20, $2.10), though we made her our second choice and finished third with Yes Mickey ($3.20). We were second in the other Graduate Series mile with International Moni ($3.60, $2.80).

In one of the minor features, a Rainbow Blue split, we won with Ideal Talker ($19.20, $7.20, $3.00) as it appeared in the H2W last week (it is not calculated in the H2W stats below, however).

Yonkers held a pair of elim divisions for soph-colt pacers. Our choice in division one, Matinee Fashion (7-1) broke and was eliminated. The public’s top choice won that race. In the second elim, we were fourth with Kwik Talkin (10-1).

In the single Lismore elim, Believe In Me (8-1), part of an entry, finished sixth as another entry, which was the crowd’s second choice, won.



THE HAMBLETONIAN TRAIL

Our exclusive spin-off blog followed the colt-and-filly action at Vernon and the Meadows over the weekend. At Vernon on May 18, fillies went three elims to earn their berths in their Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) final next week. We warned of a sure-fire favorite and it was fair warning for easy-winner Atlanta ($2.20, $2.50, $2.10 ok), while our other first-division choice, Chaperess (45-1) broke and was eliminated.

In the second filly EBC elim, the public choice beat our contender, Mooska Stride (25-1) and in the third split the public’s second choice beat our contender Lucky Rainbow (26-1).

The colts’ two elims were won by the public, too, while we went third with Classichap ($3.40) and ninth with Kinda Lucky Lindy (45-1) in one split and sixth with Cruising In Style (8-1) in the other.

On May 19 at the Meadows we nailed the three Pennsylvania Sires Stakes for soph-colt trotters we covered. The first lucrative split went to our choice, Whats The Word ($7.40, $4.40, $3.40). The second division was won by our choice, Captain Morgan ($6.80, $3.80, $3.00), with Patent Leather, our other contender in there, finishing fourth. Then we scored with the highest win price of the trio with Moosonee ($12.00, $4.80, $3.40).
 


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H2W LIST RESULTS

The H2W results list across-the-board prices. Also, exactas listed are included when a H2W horse finishes second with a race favorite or the first two finishers making up the exacta are H2W horses (an asterisk appears when both horses were listed to complete a cold exacta). The note “ok” determines that prices published are correct even when a show price exceeds a place price or any or all of the prices are the same. This week, there were 57 active horses (a 16-percent win hit rate and a 40-percent ATB [across-the-board] hit rate).

Please note that some H2W results reflect win, place, show and exotic results occurring by press time but some horses race after the blog is posted (we list them the following week) It is up to you to follow horses that have not performed before this weekly review


Winners

Powerful Temtrist, $30.60, $18.80, $7.40, Hawthorne
Reiki, $7.30, $3.60, $2.90, Mohawk
Anja, $6.20, $2.90, $2.90 ok, Saratoga
Hetties Commander, $5.50, $3.50, $2.80, Flamboro
Fuzzylegsandall, $4.70, $4.10, $3.40, Vernon
Camtizzy, $4.00, $2.60, $2,20, Scarborough
Ugly Stik, $3.80, $2.80, $2.10, Plainridge
Rocknroll Delight, $2.80, $2.20, $2.10, Monticello
Western Hill, $2.30, $2.10, $2.10 ok, Yonkers

Seconds

Ghost Pine, $8.80, $7.00, Meadowlands
I’M Blue Too, $6.20, $3.20 (Exacta $24.80), Running Aces
War Chief, $5.80, $3.20 (Exacta $23.60), Scioto
Manofmanyimages, $4.90, $3.70, Mohawk
Workin Them Angels, $3.80, $2.50 (Exacta $9.30), Century
Spider Man Hanover, $3.50, $2.40, Flamboro
Lyons Snyder, $3.20, $2.40, Scioto
Innocent Kiss, $3.10, $2.10 (Exacta $5.90), Charlottetown
Piece Of The Rock, $2.60, $2.10, Freehold

Thirds

Braley Hanover, $8.60, Philly
Lyons Levi Lewis, $7.20, Meadows
Atomic Tom, $6.70, Vernon
Kick It In Kate, $3.40, Northville
Sectionline Emery, $3.00, Running Aces



News & Notes

It has been a while since we brought up the following H2W fan follow-up that bettors can perform, so here is a reboot of the tool. Though our H2W only lists horses once (if they win at first listing) or twice (if they win or not at second listing), it could be worth it for bettors to create an addendum H2W on their own, following horses a third and maybe even a fourth time after we abandon them. Enough times, horses that win at first H2W crack come back to win again. Also, horses winning at second crack will win again and some not winning while on the list come back a third and/or fourth time to win. So, keeping a H2W addendum list on your own may help you with some of the horses on the main list for win and exotic bets. It’s not a lot of work but it could be worth a lot of money.

Please note that Yonkers’s “French-Style” Sunday matinees returned May 20 with first post at 12:35 p.m. Some races will go as the added-distance trots (keeping in the French style), so please check your programs carefully. Yonkers’ Sunday matinees also offer the “New York-New York Double,” which consists of thoroughbred-track Belmont’s third race (post time around 2:37 p.m.) and Yonkers’ seventh race (post time near 3:01 p.m.).

As Running Aces in Minnesota opens its 11th season, we will be following many horses and the trainers that have shipped east from Sacramento’s Cal-Expo meet, which recently closed its season, to participate. The veteran West-Coast horsemen moving to the “Aces” continue to campaign lots of strong stock. They include Gerald Longo, Denise Maier, Kathleen Plested, Steve Wiseman, Nick Roland, Lemoyne Svendsen and more.

The Running Aces’ 2018 season is highlighted by the $50,000 Dan Patch Free-For-All Pace on July 22 and the $360,000 (est.) Night of Champions on Sept. 15. Other notable races will include the $15,000 Finnegan’s Feature Trot and $15,000 Finnegan’s Feature Pace, both on Father’s Day weekend. July 15 offers the $15,000 Dan Patch Preview Pace. Also new for 2018, Aces introduces the 50-cent late Daily Double on the last two races of the night. Other popular multi-race pools are back, including the 20-cent Jackpot Pick-5, plus multiple Pick-3 wagers and early and late 50-cent Pick-4 wagering. The 50-cent late Pick-4 wager on Sunday and Tuesday features a $5,000 guaranteed pool which is sponsored by Running Aces, the USTA’s Strategic Wagering Program, and MHRI. The very popular 50-cent Hi-5 wager is back as well, and will be offered on each of the last two races every night.

Congratulations to our longtime friend in standardbred journalism, Tim Bojarski, who has been named to a six-year term on the Harness Writers’ (USHWA) Hall of Fame Screening Committee. Tim is a past president of USHWA, the chairman of its board and a veteran publicist for many harness tracks, including Batavia Downs and Plainridge Park.


Extraordinary Extras

Indulge in many standardbred topics at my Hoof Beats blog titled Vast Performances.

And check my monthly column, Alternative Actions, at Harness Racing Update